pull (oneself) up by the bootstraps

pull (oneself) up by the bootstraps

To put forth effort to improve one's life or circumstances, rather than relying on others. After I declared bankruptcy, I had to pull myself up by the bootstraps and rebuild my financial standing. I know you're heartbroken by this breakup, but you just have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and get back out there into the dating scene.
See also: bootstrap, by, pull, up
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

pull oneself up by the bootstraps

Succeed by one's own efforts, as in She was homeless for nearly two years, but she managed to pull herself up by the bootstraps. This expression alludes to pulling on high boots by means of the straps or loops attached to them at the top. [Early 1900s]
See also: bootstrap, by, pull, up
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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